Robert Tabern has been editor of the Inter-County Leader since July 2022.
Raised in the north suburbs of Chicago, Robert discovered a passion for journalism while attending Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, writing for the student newspaper and hosting shows on the school’s radio and cable television stations. One of his first jobs was running camera for sporting events at the local cable company.
In 1997, Robert moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to attend Arkansas State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. During college, he worked on-air and behind the scenes at several local radio stations, including KASU-FM, KDRS-AM, and KLQZ-FM. Robert also served as a producer for three years at KAIT-TV, the ABC affiliate serving portions of Northeast Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and West Tennessee. It was there he covered such events as the Westside Middle School Shooting in March 1998, the tribulations of Y2K, and September 11th.
After college, Robert held various media and communication roles here in the Midwest, including producing and reporting for WKJG-TV (NBC) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, senior news/web producer at WDJT-TV (CBS) in Milwaukee, and assignment editor/travel reporter at WTMJ-TV (NBC) in Milwaukee. Robert also worked in communications for the City of Oak Creek’s police and fire departments. More recently, he served as operations coordinator for a travel company in suburban Milwaukee, and then as a passenger development director at a railroad in Washburn County.
In his spare time, Robert enjoys traveling around the country and the globe. He is also a “national park buff”, and one of just a handful of people who have visited all 428 National Park Service units in the United States. Robert co-founded and currently manages a 501(c)(3) non-profit railroad organization called the Midwest Rail Rangers, which provides historical programs on trains across a seven-state region. Robert has also written and published more than a dozen railroad history books and rail route guides. He also enjoys photography and have had some of his work shown in professional galleries across the United States.
Robert, who currently lives in Luck, Wisconsin, is only the sixth editor in the Inter-County Leader’s 91-year history. He is passionate and committed to covering community festivals, sporting events, government, schools, spot breaking news, and much more. Robert says, “Most of the television news we get here in Barron, Burnett, Polk, and Washburn Counties come from stations between 70 and 100 miles away in many cases. And then, crews only come here when there is something really negative going on. I love Northwest Wisconsin… and want to put a spotlight on the good going on in our towns.”
Robert follows in the footsteps of earlier Inter-County Leader Editors, including Bennie Bye (1933-1953), Romain Brandt (1953-1958), Elmer Haumant (1958-1963), Bernice Asper (1963-1983), and Gary King (1983-2022).